He has been in Belgium for several years, he served a sentence of 6 years in different prisons. At the end of these 6 years he was transferred to a closed centre in view of his deportation to his “country of origin” (double sentence). He was effectively deported but his country of origin refused him because he had no let pass, hence he was rejected to Belgium and retained again in a closed centre. He has been retained for 6 months and he currently is in the “secured wing” in Vottem, which he calls the ‘dungeon’. http://www.gettingthevoiceout.org/a-prison-in-the-prison-in-vottem-the-secured-wing-of-vottem/
He is on a hunger strike and is asking to testify.
Here I am in the centre of Vottem, I haven’t eaten for 17 days, I’m on a hunger strike.
The first day I started, I asked to see the director and I still haven’t seen him.
My reason for going on a hunger strike is just to ask for a job or a transfer because I have been detained in the centre for six months now. So six months without a job, we don’t know how to buy tobacco or a lot of things.
Living conditions in this centre are difficult. The way they wash clothes is incorrect. They put the clothes in very tight balls and they put all the balls in the machine and the clothes come back as dirty as before, and wet as well.
I’m in Belgium in a way that’s not very legal. I took a prison sentence because of injustice, because of my name and not because of my fact, it was clear in the file. And during the six years I did, I had some prison leaves. I have been out on leave more than fifty times, I have always respected the conditions. I was going back to prison and then I was sent back to Morocco.
In Morocco they didn’t accept my repatriation without a pass and they sent me back to Belgium directly.
It was in the centre of Bruges, I stayed there. There it’s a little better than here, but work is the same, there was no work.
So after four months of staying in Bruges, I went on a hunger strike and for ten days of a hunger strike, they transferred me to this centre.
When they arrived here, they told me “here we are fine, there is work here”.
So when I joined the section, I stopped and ate there, but they put me directly in solitary confinement in a cell as if it was a disciplinary transfer when I didn’t even have a disciplinary report. I ate and when I returned to the section I understood that living conditions are worse than in Bruges. There is no work, everything is badly done, everything is wrong. Just to see the social worker you have to wait 5 or 6 days. To see the director, you should never dream when in Bruges the director and the social workers ate in the same room as us. They could be seen overnight.
There are many factors now that make me lose my life, I want to kill myself and it lasts. If I want to die now, it’s for a good cause. So that everyone knows what’s going on in the centres. Because already, keeping someone for 6 or 8 months and without giving them the slightest job to earn a little money to buy everything they need is inhuman.
We say “yes we have human rights”, where are they? Where are my rights? If I’d have been kept here for 6 months and given 1 euro every three days, that’s okay because I can buy with 1 euro. I am a smoker, I have to wait 15 days to buy a pack of tobacco that I smoke in two days. I have a lot of things to buy.
Here, as I told you, the people who pass through here are not staying for long. Every day some are coming, every day some are going. There are some who stay a week, three days, four days, a month! They are people who don’t care even if they don’t work, they know they won’t stay long. That’s the problem for someone who stays a long time.
I asked to see the director and he didn’t even try to see me. I haven’t eaten in 17 days. I get checked every day. They know very well that I don’t eat, but it’s their way of saying “starve” to me.